Tag Archives: cooking

39 Things I Keep Stocked At All Times

39 Things I Keep Stocked At All Times

healthy ingredients paleo gluten free low carb vegetable

If you are looking to eliminate chemicals, preservatives, food colorings, laboratory created ingredients, etc., this list will help you stock up your pantry so that you can pretty much make any healthy meal you want whether it be paleo, gluten-free, clean eating, vegan, vegetarian, low-glycemic, etc.

I personally don’t label myself as paleo , gluten-free, vegetarian, etc. when it comes to my eating habits. My goal is to eat whole foods meaning the least ingredients the better, the least chemicals and preservatives the better. I try to maximize the nutritional value of everything I eat. I am more concerned with reducing chemicals than calories.

fakeeasy

By being more concerned with reducing and/or eliminating chemicals from the food I consume, I naturally eat healthier, more nutritious foods and in turn allowing my body to absorb it’s necessary nutrients. When my body has what it needs nutritionally, I’m not constantly hungry and tempted to snack all the time leading to weight gain. In fact, a side effect of eating this way has helped me lose weight and keep it off. Just from eating, imagine that.

calorie chemical whole foods clean eating paleo organic non-gmo

My husband and I are big time label readers. We read almost every single label on what we purchase at the grocery store. It took more time at first but now that we know which products are better for us, without chemicals, preservatives, gmo’s, etc, it doesn’t take as long anymore.

For example, the bread we eat only has 5 ingredients. Take a look at the list of chemicals in the bread you currently have in your pantry. Yikes, right? All those chemicals we ingest disrupt the way the body processes it’s required nutrients and functions. The liver and the rest of the organs have to work overtime to try to process these foreign chemicals that do not have any nutritional value. Over time this can lead to cancers and illnesses.

whole foods eating clean organic

In eating this way, I happen to have a lot of ingredients that just happen to fall into the paleo and gluten-free world. I’ve realized lately that when it’s time to try a new healthy recipe, I usually have all of the ingredients in the pantry already. So that means I only need to worry about picking up the fresh organic ingredients.

fresh food non-gmo organic paleo clean eating

So I put together a list for you of the staple items I keep around the house. I stocked my “healthy ingredient arsenal” little by little because some items are more expensive than others but you can find good deals at Costco or Amazon. Every time I went to the grocery store I would just pick up a thing or two until I was satisfied with my stock.

Most of the ingredients go a long way so it’s not like you will be purchasing all of these items on a regular basis. There are some items that I do purchase more frequently like coconut oil (I use it for beauty products as well as cooking), raw honey, unsweetened shredded coconut, coconut flour, and quinoa (lots and lots of quinoa).

{ I purchase organics every single time if it’s available, even spices. If I can’t find organic I will at least make sure it’s non-GMO }

healthy ingredients paleo gluten free clean eating pantry food

organic food clean eating non gmo whole vegetables nutrition

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I Love Ghee and Here’s Why

I Love Ghee and Here’s Why

In my journey and constant research on healthier living, I kept seeing this stuff called ghee while researching grass fed butter information. We started using grass fed butter but had not yet jumped on the ghee wagon.

Last weekend at our local grocery store that has the most extensive organic, healthy food section we found a jar on the shelf labeled GHEE. Did you read that? Jar on the shelf! I had to check this out for myself.

Ghee is a form of butter that is an integral part of traditional Indian cuisine. It is clarified butter, which means that the water and milk solids (mostly proteins) have been boiled off, leaving just the rich, golden butterfat. 

Ghee is a simple word for ‘clarified butter’ actually. If you have ever ordered lobster or crab legs at a reputable restaurant, you were most likely served a little cup of clarified butter. That very golden, translucent and rich butter in a cup. So guess what, you’ve probably had ghee before but just didn’t know it.

Ok so we know what it is but why should you care? Read below for the Top 10 Reasons to get to Know Ghee.

I bought the exact brand below, Purity Farms. It’s paleo, lactose and casein free, kosher, non GMO, organic, pasture raised (grass fed) and salt free.

ghee grass fed butter good fat paleo clarified organic

I found this great post by lahealthyliving.com about ghee and what makes it’s so awesome. Here are their Top 10 Reasons To Get To Know Ghee

  1. Outstanding Cooking Oil. Ghee’s smoke point is 485°F which makes it an excellent cooking oil.  Unlike butter, ghee can tolerate high temperatures.
  2. Supreme Taste.  Ghee has a more creamy texture and nutty flavor than butter since most of the liquid is skimmed off during the clarification process.
  3. Long Shelf life. Because of its low oxidation rate, ghee can be kept unrefrigerated for a long time.
  4. Easy to Digest. Ghee aids in a healthy digestive process as it stimulates the secretion of stomach acids thus increasing the absorption of nutrients.
  5. Boosts the Immune System. Modern research found that ghee also contains phenolic antioxidants which boosts the immune system.
  6. Lowers cholesterol. CLA ( conjugated linolenic acid) contained in ghee, not only lowers cholesterol, but also reduces total cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein) and triglycerides. (source)
  7. Improves Eyesight. According to Ayurveda practitioner, Dr. Vasant Lad,  eye disorders such as glaucoma, can benefit from adding ghee into the diet. Ghee improves our vision by helping our bodies properly digest fat-soluble vitamins such as Vitamin A.
  8. Body Detox. Ghee is the perfect tool for body detox. Ghee penetrates the body tissues dissolving any toxins found in them. Then it gets rid of the toxins in the body through the intestines.
  9. Anti-inflammatory. Ghee has been proven to reduce leukotriene secretion and reduce prostaglandin which are both responsible for  inflammation.
  10. Aids in weight loss. Due to the conjugated linolenic acid contained in Ghee, it aids in weight loss (especially belly fat). Being easily digestible, it helps to develop a faster metabolism.

So now we have an opened jar of ghee sitting on our counter. I love cooking with it. It gives foods a richer taste. I also cook veggies in it and because of the properties, allows the body to absorb more of the goodness of the organic vegetables we eat.

ghee grass fed butter good fat paleo clarified organic

Our eating philosophy is to consume as much “whole foods” as possible into our diet. Seems like every week we are finding a food in a more natural state and incorporating it into our lives. Why don’t more people use this and why aren’t people talking about it, constantly?

Well I say “WELCOME TO FAMILY, GHEE”.

 

 

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Black Bean Honey Lime Quinoa Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Black Bean Honey Lime Quinoa Stuffed Sweet Potatoes 

If you’ve seen any of my other recipes, you might have figure out that I love quinoa. Examples would be my quinoa stuffed peppers, amazing quinoa mac and cheese and coconut vanilla quinoa breakfast. Quinoa is so super versatile. It’s one of my favorite things to cook with.

quinoa black bean sweet potato yam protein edamame

This recipe is packed with so much goodness it’s insane. Loads of protein from the quinoa, edamame, black beans and a even some from the sweet potato.

quinoa black bean sweet potato yam protein edamame

The sweet potato is one of the healthiest foods you can eat. Did you know it has 213% of the recommended daily requirement of vitamin A? Holy carp.

It’s loaded with vitamin C, biotin (great for hair and skin), potassium, lots of fiber and b-vitamins too. It’s one seriously nutritionally packed veggies. Plus they taste so good. So good that I drove to my moms house and brought her some because I knew she would love it.

I love this recipe so much because not only is it nutritionally packed but it’s FULL of flavor and makes a hearty meal. One large stuffed sweet potato makes a meal. They can also be re-heated easily just by popping them in the microwave for 1 -2 minutes. You can also sprinkle with your favorite shredded cheese if you want.

quinoa black bean sweet potato yam protein edamame

Whip up a batch of these for Meatless Monday or your vegan friends. Non-vegans will seriously be impressed, I’m not kidding.

Black Bean Honey Lime Quinoa Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
 
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Black Bean Honey Lime Quinoa Stuffed Sweet Potatoes. Hearty, protein packed and full of vitamins. A fantastically delicious vegetarian meal that even meat eaters will love.
Author:
Recipe type: Vegetarian
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 4 medium sweet potatoes, scrubbed and rinsed then pierced several times with a fork
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 tbsp oil (olive, coconut or ghee because you will use it to saute)
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 1 clove garlic or ½ tsp garlic minced
  • 1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1½ cups cooked edamame
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp ground paprika
  • ¼ tsp ground coriander
  • ⅛ tsp caynenne pepper
  • 3 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 3 tbsp raw honey
  • dash of salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 and bake sweet potatoes for 50 - 55 minutes. They should be soft.
  2. While the sweet potatoes are cooking, in a large saucepan bring quinoa and vegetable broth to a boil and then lower to a simmer and cover for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. In a small skillet, heat oil (I used ghee) and saute the chopped onions for 4 to 5 minutes, browning them slightly. In the last minute of sauteing, add the garlic and mix and continue cooking for the last minute.
  4. Once the quinoa is cooked, add onion/garlic, black beans, edamame, spices, lime juice, honey, salt/pepper.
  5. When the sweet potatoes are done baking, let them cool a minute so you can handle them without getting burned.
  6. Once cooled, using a paring knife, slice a long oval in the top of the potato and scoop out about 60% of the sweet potato and set aside (save it for another recipe or make mashed sweet potatoes for tomorrows dinner).
  7. Once the insides have been scooped out, fill the hole with the quinoa mixture.
  8. Serve.
  9. **Optional: top with your favorite vegan or regular cheese**

 

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Wheat Berry Waldorf Salad – No Mayo

Wheat Berry Waldorf Salad – No Mayo 

wheat berry waldorf salad grape apple pear dairy free side dish lettuce fiber protein nutty whole grain vegetarian vegan cinnamon vinegar cranberry fuji granny smith

I love that there is no mayo in this recipe but what I love most are the wheat berries. I discovered this little gem of a grain a while back and was excited to incorporate it into a recipe. Have you heard about wheat berries yet?

wheat berry waldorf salad grape apple pear dairy free side dish lettuce fiber protein nutty whole grain vegetarian vegan cinnamon vinegar cranberry fuji granny smithWheat berries are a true whole grain! Without these kernels, there would be no flour. Wheat berries are loaded with nutrients and are as easy as rice to prepare. They resemble rice when uncooked and puff up a little after boiled.

When boiled, cooked wheat berries have a chewy bite and subtle nutty, earthy flavor. They’re sturdy enough to handle bold salad dressings and still delicate enough to taste delicious with some milk, honey and cinnamon.

Since the wheat kernel is left intact, virtually none of the nutrients are stripped away. A cup of cooked wheat berries has about 300 calories and is packed with fiber, protein and iron. 

I’m absolutely bringing this to the next BBQ or party I go to. I’m a naturally anxious person so just the decision of what to bring to a party makes my brain spin. I have criteria and a tray of pre-cut veggies in plastic just doesn’t cut it.

This salad meets my top 3 requirements though: UNIQUE, DELICIOUS and HEALTHY.

Don’t let the list of ingredients deter you from making this salad. You probably have most of the ingredients already in your kitchen and the rest are super easy to pick up. Plus, once you pick up some wheat berries, you’ll be happy to have them on hand for any future recipes. I purchase mine in the bulk section at Whole Foods but Bob’s Red Mill also sells packaged wheat berries.

Wheat berries are easy to cook. There are some recipes that call for boiling them for about an hour and others that call for soaking them overnight. I opt for soaking overnight. I put the wheat berries in a bowl with water, cover and let sit in the fridge overnight. The next day while you are preparing the rest of the recipe, boil the wheat berries. It’s really simple.

I enjoyed this salad as a side to a chicken breast on top of a nice spring mix bed of lettuce. It started out that way anyway. In actuality I scooped up the Waldorf and topped my chicken with it. 

Wheat berries alone are packed with protein but this salad is a great compliment to any additional protein you might want to add. Top chicken, pork, fish or steak, it all works. 

wheat berry waldorf salad grape apple pear dairy free side dish lettuce fiber protein nutty whole grain vegetarian vegan cinnamon vinegar cranberry fuji granny smith

Another serving suggestion is to spoon the Waldorf salad into bib lettuce and top with diced chicken breast = Waldorf Chicken Salad Lettuce Wraps.

wheat berry waldorf salad grape apple pear dairy free side dish lettuce fiber protein nutty whole grain vegetarian vegan cinnamon vinegar cranberry fuji granny smith

Wheat Berry Waldorf Salad (Mayo Free)
 
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Wheat Berry Waldorf Salad (Mayo Free)
Author:
Recipe type: Salad
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup wheat berries, rinsed
  • 2½ cup water
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • ¼ cup cider vinegar or rice vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar)
  • ¼ cup apple juice or lemon juice (I used organic apple juice)
  • 1½ teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 large Granny Smith unpeeled, cored and chopped
  • 1 large Fuji, unpeeled, cored and chopped
  • 1 medium pear, unpeeled, cored and chopped
  • 2 stalks finely chopped celery
  • ½ cup dried cranberry or blueberries (I used cranberries)
  • ½ seedless green or red grapes, halved (I used red grapes)
  • Optional: honey roasted peanuts
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, soak rinsed wheat berries in the 2½ cups of water. Cover and refrigerate overnight (6 to 12 hours).
  2. Without draining, transfer wheat berries to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat and simmer covered for about 30 minutes or until a tender chewy texture.
  4. Drain and transfer to a bowl to cool slightly.
  5. While the wheat berries are simmering, mix up the dressing.
  6. **DRESSING**
  7. Combine oil, parsley, sugar, salt, vinegar, apple juice and cinnamon. (Either whisk very well or shake vigorously in a screw top jar.)
  8. Pour dressing over slightly cooled wheat berries and combine well.
  9. **SALAD**
  10. In a large bowl combine apples, pear, cranberries, celery and grapes.
  11. Stir in dressing/wheat berry mixture.
  12. Cover and chill if not serving immediately.
  13. Optional: Sprinkle with honey roasted nuts.

 

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Paleo Coconut Macaroons

Paleo Coconut Macaroons

When I found this recipe at Empowered Sustenance I was really skeptical about how these macaroons would turn out. I’ve tried other cookie recipes like my Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies and Perfectly Healthy Cookies. While they were good, I’m always on the hunt for better.

I found better! Not just better but BEST! I’m having trouble putting into words how delicious these macaroons are. Lauren at Empowered Sustenance got it right! They are easy, sweet, moist, coconutty and paleo! If you like macaroons, you will LOVE these, paleo or not!

paleo coconut macaroon oil raw honey cinnamon healthy banana vegan cookie oil egg-free vanilla

Baked perfectly for 18 minutes for the first batch. I did 17 minutes for the second batch because the oven was really hot and I didn’t want the bottoms to burn.

paleo coconut macaroon oil raw honey cinnamon healthy banana vegan cookie oil egg-free vanilla

These are deliciously sweet, moist, coconutty and addictive. There is a subtle banana taste but the majority of the flavor is definitely undeniably coconut. I love that something so delicious is also paleo, vegan and dairy free!

paleo coconut macaroon oil raw honey cinnamon healthy banana vegan cookie oil egg-free vanilla

I took this recipe an extra step and dipped a few in a little organic chocolate which does have dairy in it taking them out of the vegan category but the hubby will appreciate it so I just did a few for him. They are perfectly delicious without the chocolate though.

Paleo Coconut Macaroons
 
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Paleo Coconut Macaroons. These macaroons are also vegan because they are dairy free. Moist and delicious!
Author:
Recipe type: Paleo, Vegan
Ingredients
  • **This recipe made 2 dozen**
  • 2 very ripe bananas, mashed until creamy
  • 2 cups finely shredded unsweetened coconut (I bought it at Whole Foods in the bulk section)
  • 4 teaspoons coconut flour
  • ¼ cup coconut oil, melted
  • ¼ cup raw honey or raw maple syrup (I used raw honey)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, optional but I used it
  • ¾ teaspoon cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a large bowl mash the ripe bananas with a fork until creamy, try to get all the lumps out.
  3. Add the raw honey and whisk together.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well until combined well.
  5. Form into tablespoon-size balls and place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
  6. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until the bottoms look golden brown. Mine were completely done at 18 minutes.
  7. I reduced the time by a minute for the second batch because the oven was so hot.
  8. Let cool COMPLETELY until removing from the baking sheet, otherwise they will crumble.
  9. ***Optional: Once cooled completely, dip bottoms in melted chocolate and put in the fridge to set***

 

If you like coconut and healthy treats, you have got to try these. They will not disappoint!

Update: Shortly after posting this recipe the hubby came home and immediately tried them. He’s had 6 since then. He like them with AND without the chocolate. Score!

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